After signing the Code of Conduct (yes, this meant no smoking and drinking for some!), we boarded the bus again and rolled down the hill to our respective residences. The boys stayed in Jameson House and so I lugged my luggage up a flight of stairs to Room 9.
We then had a quick supper and rushed off to our first show: Angeli e Demoni. The effects created by this spectacle using fire, flare and fireworks were amazing. Throughout the performance, fiery images of serpents, bats, gigantic marionettes, mirrors, flaming walls, claws and wings appear drawn in fire. However, I felt that the cliched storyline of good versus evil was a bit disappointing.
The next day (o5 July) started with the official opening ceremony and a keynote address by Dada Masilo at the 1820 Settlers Monument. Then it was time for my first workshop! I was assigned one called Beneath Your Body and here I explored my ability to express myself through physical works and discovered my inner capabilities.
We saw three productions that day: Molly Bloom, Quack! and A Teacher in the Bushveld. This version of Molly Bloom was edited from the final chapters of Joyce's classic novel Ulysses, but did not lose any of its poetic beauty and erotic bawdiness. Quack! was an interesting "Afro-Gothic thriller" about a man who escapes into a parallel universe while lying delirious in hospital. A Teacher in the Bushveld was an adaption of Herman Charles Bosman's short story about the adventures of a young man in a teaching post at a small bushveld school.
A lecture by Donna McCallum (a.k.a The Fairy Godmother) was on the programme for Tuesday (06 July) morning. I truly enjoyed her motivational speech on Creating your Extraordinary Life. It was not the usual didactic type; she involved the audience and gave her speech "oomph!" through her enthusiasm.
On this day, we watched two productions: Tree Boy and Swan Lake. Tree Boy was my favourite production throughout the festival. Within a simple narrative frame set in the South Africa of the 1960s, the piece evokes the nature of a journey through time, relationships, growth, loss and healing. I was not "mesmorised with [Dada Masilo's] contemporary take on Swan Lake", as the programme notes said. I did not like her amalgamation of African dance with classical ballet. However, everyone else seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the performance.